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LINGUIST List 18.2712

Tue Sep 18 2007

Qs: Partial /p/ reduplicants in English

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        1.    Mark Jones, Partial /p/ reduplicants in English

Message 1: Partial /p/ reduplicants in English
Date: 15-Sep-2007
From: Mark Jones <markjjoneshotmail.com>
Subject: Partial /p/ reduplicants in English
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I have two questions about partial /p/ reduplicants in English, relating to
an idea I have concerning the etymology for the phrase 'higgledy piggledy'
which I believe contains a lexical element 'higgledy' (diminutive past
tense of 'higgle', a possible British English dialect word for 'to hail'),
and a partial reduplicant 'piggledy'.

These /p/ reduplicants are not unknown elsewhere in English, e.g.

'easy peasy, Andy pandy, namby pamby, roly poly', and I suspect also 'silly
billy' (< silly pilly) and possibly also giving rise to Peggy as a form of
Margaret (from Meggy Peggy).

If the lexical element has a labial initial then the reduplicant is /w/, e.g.

piggy wiggy, Benny wenny, fishy wishy.

My two queries are:

1) What other examples of partial /p/ reduplicants do people know?
2) Has this pattern been the subject of any written study?

Any responses (and on 'higgle'!) much appreciated. A summary or reference
will be provided if response warrants it.

Many thanks

Mark Jones

Mark J. Jones
British Academy Post-doctoral Research Fellow
Department of Linguistics
University of Cambridge

Linguistic Field(s): Morphology

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